By Mallory Matt

Parishioners from across Southeast Texas gathered at Sacred Heart in Port Arthur March 3 to celebrate Mass honoring St. Katharine Drexel.

In his homily, Bishop Curtis Guillory, S.V.D., told the story of a young Katharine traveling to Rome with her father to meet the pope. To get to Rome, the Drexel family traveled through poverty-stricken areas in the Black and Indian communities.

“She wanted to do something for them,” Bishop Guillory said. “She asked the pope to send missionaries to help them but the pope said, ‘Why don’t you become a missionary?’ The pope challenged her and she responded. How often to do we challenge our young people? We have to continue her good works or else her good work that she has begun will die with us.”

Philanthropist St. Katharine Drexel made her mark here in Southeast Texas by helping to establish and develop Blessed Sacrament School in Beaumont, Sacred Heart School in Port Arthur and St. Theresa School in Orange. She dedicated her life to serving the Native American and African American communities.

A reception followed the Mass at the parish hall with photos and yearbooks from the schools her religious order, the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, staffed.